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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  August 15, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT

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most of us think we will stay healthy. we are no different than other ordinary americans, no different than anybody else. we are held hostage at any given moment by companies that the night coverage or drop coverage or charge fees that people cannot afford at a time when they desperately need care. it is wrong. it is bankrupting families and businesses. we are going to fix it when we pass health insurance reform this year. we are going to fix it. [applause] again, i want to especially thank senator baucus as chair of the finance committee. . chair of the finance committee. he has been committed to getting
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this done. this is obviously a tough time in america, a tough time here in montana. just six months ago we were in the middle of the worst recession in our lifetimes. we were losing about 700 jobs each month. economists of all stripes feared a second coming of the great depression. that is why we acted as best as we could to pass a recovery plan to stop the freefall. i want to just beat briefly about the recovery plan because that has our people's view of the health care debate. the recovery plan was divided into three parts. one-third of the money in the revery act went to tax cuts that have already started showing up in the paychecks of about 400,000 working families in montana. 400,000 working families have seen their taxes reduced because of the recovery act. [applause] we also cut taxes for small businesses on the investments
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that they make in more than 200 montanans small businesses have qualified for new loans backed by the recovery act, including ten businesses right in the boseman area. [applause] another one-third of the money in the recovery act is for emergency relief for folks who bore the brunt of this recession. what am i talking about? unemployment insurance. we have extended benefits for 40,000 montana residents. we have made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who rely on kober when they lose their job and they are out there looking for work. [applause] i think as your governor will testify for states facing historic budget shortfalls we provide assistance that is save the jobs of tens of thousands of workers who provide essential services like teachers and police officers. we have prevented painful job
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cuts but we have also prevented a lot of painful state and local tax increases. so, that is two-thirds of the recovery act. the last third of the recovery act is for investments that are already putting people back to work, rebuilding infrastructure. their nearly 70 transportation projects already improved here in montana. these are just fixing up the roads that run to the national forests. could just doing the work that america needs done and most of the work is being done by local businesses because that is how we are going to get this economy growing again. so there is no doubt that the recovery plan is doing what we said it would, putting us on the road to recovery. we saw last friday the jobs picture is beginning to turn. we are starting to see signs that business investment is coming back, so people i think sometimes when i listen to them on tv or these cable shows, they seem to have a selective memory. we started with this mess.
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we are now pulling out of it but that doesn't mean we are out of the woods. [applause] that does a mean we are out of the woods. you know that. and boseman for example the local judge center reported seeing more than 8,000 job-seekers for 160 jobs so we can't sit back and do nothing while families are struggling. because even before this recession hit, we had an economy that was working pretty we for the wealthiest of americans, working well for wall street bankers and big corporations but it wasn't working so well for everybody else. it was then economy of bubbles and buzz, an economy in which recklessness and not responsibility was reported. we can go back to that kind of economy. if we want a country that succeeds in the 21st century, then we have to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity.
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and health insurance reform is one of the key pillars of this new foundation. [applause] this economy won't work for everyone intel folks like katie and her husband can start that small business without the fear of losing their health coverage, and the companies are slashing payroll and losing profits to pay for health insurance. until every single american has the security and peace of mind of knowing they have got quality, affordable care. and the fact is health care touches all of our lives in a profound way. now, that also makes this debate an emotional one. i know there has been a lot of attention paid to some of the town hall meetings that are going on a run the country, especially when tempers flare. tv lows a ruckus. what you haven't seen on tv, and what makes me proud are the many
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constructive meetings going on all over the country, everywhere across the country. you are seeing people who are coming together and having a cybil, honest, often difficult conversation about how we can improve this system. that is out democracy is supposed to work. earlier this week held a town hall in new hampshire. a few thousand people showed up. some more big supporters of the health insurance reform. some have concerns and questions. summer done right skeptic. i was glad to see that people were there not to shock. they were there to listen and ask questions. that reflects america. a lot more than what we have seen covered on television for the last few days. [applause] i want to thank you for coming here today in that spirit.
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now, before i take questions i just want to talk briefly about what health insurance reform will mean for you. we still have work to do in congress. bills are not finalized, but i just want you to understand about 80% of this has already been agreed to. here are the basic principles that folks are talking about. first, health insurance reform will mean a set of common sense, the consumer protections for folks with health insurance. said those of you who have health insurance, this is what it will mean. insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your coverage because he gets sick. that is what happened to katie. [applause] that can happen anymore. if you do the responsible thing, if you pay your premiums each month so you are covered in case of a crisis, when crisis conseque have a heart attack or your husband finds out he has cancer or your son or daughter
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is rest to the hospital at the time when you are most vulnerable and most frightened, you can't be getting a phonecall from your insurance company saying your insurance is revoked. it turns out once you got sick they scoured your records looking for reasons to cancel your policy. they find a minor mistake on your insurance form that you submitted years ago. that can be allowed to happen. one reports-- [applause] one report found that three insurance companies alone had canceled 20,000 policies in this way over the past few years. one man from illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his censure discovered he had not reported gallstones he did not know about. a true story. because his treatment with delayed, he died. a woman from texas was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, was scheduled for a double mastectomy.
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three days before surgery the insurance company canceled the policy in part because she forgot to declare a case of acne. a true story. by the time she had her insurance reinstated the cancer had more than doubled in size. this is personal for me. i will never forget my own mother as she fght cancer in her final months, having to worry about whether the insurance company would refuse to pay for her treatment. the insurance company was arguing that she should have known that she had cancer when she took her new job, even though it hadn't been diagnosed yet. if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone of us. it is wrong and when we pass health insurance reform we are going to put a stop to it, once and for all. that is what max baucus is working on. [applause]
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number two, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of your medical history. a recent report found in the past three years more than 12 million americans were discriminated against by insurance companies because of a preexisting condition. no one holds these companies accountable for these practices, but we will. insurance companies will no longer be able to place an arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive any given year for a lifetime, and that will help-- [applause] that will help, that will help 3700 households in montana. we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses as well because no one in america should be broke when they get sick. [applause] and finally, finally we will require insurance companies to cover routine check-ups and preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies because that saves money and that saves
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lives. [applause] so, that is what health care reform is all about. right now we have to get a health care system that all too often works better for the insurance companies than it does for the american people. we want to change that. now, if you are one of nearly 46 million people who don't have health insurance, he will finally have quality, affordable options. and if you do have health insurance, we will help make sure that your insurance is more affordable and more secure. if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. this is not some government take over. if you like your doctor, you can keep seeing a doctor. this is important, i don't want government bureaucrats meddling in your health care but i also don't want insurance company beaurocrats meddling in your health care either. [applause]
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that is what reform is about. [applause] [cheers and applause] let me say this. under the proposal that max is working on, more than 100,000 medal platts montanans will get a health care tax credit. more than 200,000 montanans will have access to a new marketplace where you can easily compare health insurance options. nearly 30,000 small businesses in montana will be helped by new tax benefits as well. and we will do all of this, we will do all of this without adding to our deficit over the next decade, largely by cutting waste and ending sweetheart deals for insurance companies that don't make anybody any
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healthier. [applause] so, the fact is, we are closer to achieving health insurance reform then we have ever been in history. we have the american nurses association and the american medical association on board because america's doctors and nurses know how badly we need reform. we have broad agreement in congress on about 80% of what we are trying to achieve and we continue to work on the other 20%. we have an agreement from the drug companies, who violently oppose reform in the past to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. aarp supports this policy and agrees with us that reform must happen this year. but, because we are getting close, the fight is getting fierce. the history is clear, every time we are inside of health insurance reform, the special-interest like that with everything they have got. they use their influence, they run their ads in their political
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allies try to scare the heck out of everybody. it happened in '93, it is happening now. it happened by the way when lyndon johnson tried to propose medicare. it happened when john f. kennedy tried to propose medicare. we can't let them do it again. not this time. because for all the scare tactics out there-- [applause] for all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary, what is truly risky is if we do nothing. if we keep the system the way it is right now, we will continue to see 14,000 americans lose their health insurance every day, and that could be you. premiums will continue to skyrocket, rising three times faster than wages. that will be you. the deficit will continue to grow medicare will go into the red and less than a decade, so
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for all the seniors out there who are understandably worried about medicare, understand if we don't reform the@@@@@@@ @ &rrb spread the facts, fight against the fear. this is not about politics, this is about helping the american people. if we can get it done this year, the american people will be better off. thank you, mostly sunny. thank you.
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thank you. [applause] alright, everybody have a seat. so, we are going to try to take its many questions as we can in the time that we have got, and we have not preselected anybody or prescreen the questions. all we want to do is just ask you to raise your hand if you have got a question and i'm going to go girl, boy, girl, boy so i don't get into trouble. there are people in the audience with microphones, as you can see, so once i call on you if you can just wait until they bring the microphone, stand up so we can all see your lovely face and introduce yourself, and then i will answer the question. if you can keep your questions
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relatively brief, i will try to keep my answers relatively brief. this young lady right here in the blue blouse. right there. ..
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>> now if you think that how can that be, you probably don't notice it because what is happening is if you have health insurance through your job, more and more of what would be your salary and wages is going to health insurance. but you don't notice it. you just notice you aren't getting a raise. but a bigger and bigger portion of compensation is going to health care here in the united states. now that is point number one. clearly we have a situation that isn't as efficient as it should be because we are not healthier than these people in these other countries. having said that, most of the countries have some form of
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single-payer system. there are differences, canada, and england have more of what's called -- what people i guess would call a socialized system in the sense that government owns the hospitals, directly hires doctors. but there are a whole bunch of countries like the netherlands where what they do is it's a single-payer system only in the sense that government pays the bills but it's all private folks out there. private doctors, private facilities. so there are a bunch of different ways of doing it. now, what we need to do is come up with a uniquely american way of providing care. so i'm not in favor of the canadian system. i'm not in favor of a british system. i am not in favor of a french system. that's not what max is working on. everyone of us, what we have said is let's find a uniquely american solution because historically, here in the united
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states, the majority of people get their health insurance on the job. so let's build on that system that already exist because for us to completely change that it would be too disruptive. that's where suddenly people would lose what they had and they would have to adjust to an entirely new system. and maximize green that's not the right way to go. so all we have said is in building a better system, what are the elements. well, number one, for people like you, you should be able to get some help going into the private insurance marketplace and buying health insurance. so we would give you a tax credit, a subsidy of some sort, to help you obtain insurance. now the problem is if you are going out there on your own, then it is much more expensive than if you go with a big group. so we would allow you to buy into a health care exchange that would give you some power to negotiate for a better rate because you are now part of a big pool. we would also make sure that if
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you do have health insurance, that you are protected from some of the policies that we've already talked about that have not been very good for consumers. so you wouldn't be able to be banned for preexisting conditions. there would be caps on the amount of out of pocket expenses you would have to spend. so we would reform the insurance market for people who already have health insurance. and if we do those things, making it better for folks who already have insurance, making it easier for you to buy insurance, and helping small businesses who want to do the right thing by their employees but just can't afford it because they are charged very high rates, they can't get a good deal from the insurance companies. if we do those things, then we can preserve the best of what our system offers, the innovation, the dynamism, but also make sure that people aren't as vulnerable. that is essentially what we are talking about with health care reform. and so when you start hearing
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people saying, you know, we're trying to get socialized medicine and we're trying to have government bureaucrats, and metal in your decision between you and your doctor, that is just not true. okay. >> it's a guys turned. the german right there in the back. >> i think most of us know that medicare is one of the best social programs of this nation has ever put together. [applause] >> it works extremely well and helps the people who need it the most. that money doesn't grow on trees. how can we be assured that increasing coverage to others is not going to make medicare more expensive or less effective?
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>> i think this is a a good point and i appreciate that question because a lot of seniors are concerned about this at first of all, it is important to know that medicare is a government program. so when you hear people saying i hate government programs, but keep your hands off my medicare, then there is a little bit of contradiction there. and i have been hearing that quite a bit. so i just want to -- i want to be clear about that. [applause] >> medicare is a terrific program, and it gives our senior security and i want medicare to be there for the next generation, not just for this generation. but if we don't make changes in how the delivery system works, if we don't eliminate some of the waste and inefficiencies in the system, then seniors are really going to be vulnerable. so what we've proposed is not to
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reduce benefits, benefit on medicare would stay the same. it's not too ration. but what we are asking is that we eliminate some of the practices that are not making people healthy. example number one. subsidies to insurance companies under medicare amount to about $177 billion over 10 years. that is how much we think we could save by eliminating subsidies to insurance companies that are offering was called that your advantage. it doesn't help seniors anymore than regular medicare does. and so if we took that $177 billion, we're not making seniors worse off. we've got that money now, not only to strengthen the health care system overall, but potentially to cover more people. navigations companies don't like
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it, but it is the right things to do. let me give you another example of changes that we should make. right now when you go into the hospital, you get a procedure under medicare. if you end up having to come back to that hospital a week later because something went wrong, they didn't do it right, the hospital doesn't pay any penalty for that. they just get reimbursed for a second time for a third time. same fee, same service. now think about that. if auto repair shops operate the same way. you take your car in and you get it fixed, and a week later the thing is broken again. you go in. the guy says let me charge you all over again and i will do just the same thing. that doesn't make sense. so what we have said is let's give hospitals and incentive. let's say to the hospitals we are going to charge you for overall treatment of whatever the problem is.
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and if you get it right the first time, you get to keep a little extra money, but if you keep having the person back again and again, then there is a disincentive. those are the examples of the kind of changes that can be made that are not reductions in benefits but they say the system money over all. and by the way, will actually increase the life expectancy of the medicare trust fund. which is in deep trouble, if we don't do something. because as you said, money doesn't grow on trees. so we are actually trying to help preserve medicare and make people healthier in the process. all right. [applause] >> the young lady in the back there. right there. well actually, i was pointing out -- i didn't see. the young lady in the blue who stood up there.
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>> good afternoon, mr. president. my name is sarah landry and i am a bozeman resident. sorry, i'm a little verse. >> you're doing great. >> thank. i am a single mother of two children. i am an msu student. i have a son that suffers from many disabilities. he is disabled for the rest of his life. he is 11 years old. he suffers from autism, he is nonverbal. he suffers from extremely hard to control epilepsy, and he is type one diabetic. he has been sick with these albums ever since he was nine months old. my question to you is, i real i heavily on his medicaid to support good health and care for him. what with this reform would happen with his medicare coverage?
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or medicaid coverage, sorry. >> first of all, thank you for sharing your story. you are a heroic mom. [applause] >> so we are grateful for you. your son is lucky. if you currently qualify for medicaid, your son currently qualify for medicaid he would continue to qualify for medicaid. so it would not have an impact on his benefit levels and his ability to get the care that he needs. some of the reforms that we are talking about though, what i just referred to as delivery system reforms, where we help, for example, encourage doctors when they are seeing a patient, instead of having five tests, do one test and then e-mailed all the tests to five specialists. those kind of changes can save money in the medicaid and the
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medicare system overall, and that will actually help governor schweitzer, who has to come up with half of medicaid in his state budget every year. it will actually help him and be able to pay for. so we are not changing the benefit levels who qualifies for medicaid. we might see some expansion of medicaid, in fact, under the reforms that have been proposed in some of the legislation. but we do have to make the whole system overall just a little bit smarter, make sure we're getting aid better bang for the buck so the money is there for the services that your son needs. okay. this also includes by the way preventive care, wellness care. because our system really is not a health care system. it's more like a disease care system. we wait until people get sick, and then we provide them care. now think about it.
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are we better off waiting until somebody gets diabetes, and then paying a surgeon for a foot amputation, or are we@@@@@@@ @ resources are there for your son. okay? [applause] >> it's a gentleman's turn and i'm going to call on that gentleman right there. right there. >> my name is randy.
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>> hold on a. >> my name is randy and i am from montana. as you can see i'm a proud nra member. [applause] >> i believe in our constitution, and it's a very important thing. i also get my news from the cable networks because i don't like the spin that comes from them other places. >> you've got to be careful about those cable networks though. [laughter] >> max baucus, our senator has been locked up in a dark room there for months now. trying to come up with somebody to pay for these programs. and we keep getting the ball. that is all we get is bull. you can't tell us how you're going to pay for this. you are sitting here. you're sitting over there. you're going to take a little money here and take a little money there, but you have no money. the only way you are going to get that money is to raise our taxes. you said you wouldn't.
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max baucus says he doesn't want to put a bill out that they will, but that the only way you can do that -- >> i'm happy to answer a question. >> thank you. >> look. you are absolutely right that i can't cover another 46 million people for free. you're right. i can't do that. so we're going to have to find some resources. if people don't have health insurance are going to get some help, then were going to have to find money from somewhere. now, but i've identified, and most of the committees have identified and agreed to, including max boxes committee, is that overall this bill will cost, let's say it costs 800 to $900 billion. that's a lot of money. that's a lot of money. that's over 10 years ago. all right. so that's about 80 to $90 million a year. about two thirds of it, two
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thirds, can be obtained by doing some of the things i already mentioned like a limiting subsidies to insurance guppies. so you're right, that's real money. i just think i would rather be giving that money to the young lady here who doesn't have health insurance and giving her some help in getting it to insurance covers that are making record profits. now, you may disagree, i think that's a good way to spend our money. [applause] >> but your point is well taken because even after we spend, even after we eliminate some of the ways, and we have gotten those savings from within health care system, that's only two thirds. that still means we have to come up with one third. and that is about $30 billion a year that we have to come up with. now keep in mind the numbers change partly because there are five different bills right now. this is all going to get merged in september. but let's assume it costs about $30 billion a year over 10 years
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that we do have to come up with that money. when i was campaigning, i made a promise that i would not raise your taxes if you make $250,000 a year or less. that's what i said. but i said that for people like myself who make more than that, there's nothing wrong with me paying a little bit more in order to help people who got a little bit less. that was my commitment. [applause] >> so what i have said is, so what i have said is let's, for example, this is a solution that i originally proposed. some members in congress disagree but we are still working it through. what i said is we could lower the itemized deductions i can take on my income tax returns every year, so that instead of me getting 36 percent, 35% deductions i would just get
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28 percent, like people who make less money than me. i've i am writing a check to my local church, i don't know why ogles them should be getting a bigger tax break than the person who makes less money than me, because that donation means just as much. if we just did that alone, just that change alone for people making more than $250,000, that alone would pay for the health care we are talking about. so my point is, my point is, number one, two thirds of the money we can obtain just from eliminating waste and inefficiencies. and the congressional budget office has agreed with that. this is not something i'm just making up. republicans don't dispute it. and then the other third we would have to find additional revenue, but it wouldn't come off the backs of the middle class. let me just make one final point. i know that there are some people who say i don't care how
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much money somebody makes. they shouldn't have to pay higher taxes. and i respect that opinion. i respect that you. but the truth of the matter is that we've got to get over this notion that somehow we can have something for nothing. because that's part of how we got into the deficits and the debt that we are in in the first place. [applause] >> when the previous administration passed a prescription drug bill, that was something that a lot of seniors needed, right, they needed prescription drug help. the price tag on that was hundreds of billions of dollars. you know how we paid for it? we didn't. it just got added onto the deficit deficit and the debt. so it amuses me sometimes when i hear some of the opponents of
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health care reform on the other side of the aisle, or on these cable shows, yelling about how we can't afford this when max and i are actually proposing to pay for it, and they passed something that they didn't pay for at all and left for future generation to have to pay in terms of debt. [applause] >> that doesn't make sense to me. can i say this though? randy, i appreciate your question. the respectful way you asked it, and by the way, i believe in the constitution to. so thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause] >> all right. right there in the green in the back. >> thanks. so when funding dried up last fall due to the economic downturn, i lost my job at a
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nonprofit helping struggling teens. and i would like to thank you because, because of your stimulus funding to community health clinics, i now have a new job helping people who are -- [applause] >> -- mostly uninsured. i made therapist. so i wanted to thank you for that but there was a crap in there where i lost my insurance in between losing my job with a nonprofit and my current job. and i would like to ask you how you will help people with that gap when they are unemployed. >> first of all, the recovery package, the stimulus help people precisely with that gap when we said we will cover 65% of the cost of cobra. how many people here have been on cobra, or try to get on cobra? so just for those of you who aren't familiar with it, if you lose your job, under federal law you are able to access something called cobra, which allows you to pay the premiums through the health insurance that you had until you find your next job.
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sounds like a good deal. here is the only problem. as i said before, most of us don't realize how much our insurance costs our employers. because we are not seeing the actual bill that is being paid mostly by our employers. so when we lose our job, suddenly we get this bill for a thousand dollars or $1200, or $1500 a month. and that is absolutely the worst time for you to have to come up with that money is when you have lost your job. so what we did was, we said because this is such an extraordinary crisis, let's pick up 65% of that, temporarily, so that the huge numbers of people who have lost their jobs because of his financial downturn, they get a little bit more of a cushion. now, that was the initial help that we wanted to do to provide that bridge. when we pass health reform, you are going to be in a position where, first of all, you will be
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able to select a plan that you can carry with you, whether you have lost your job or not. and depending on your income levels, you will also be qualified for a tax credit that will help you pay and continue your coverage, even if you have lost your job. and for a lot of people, this is especially important for a lot of people who are self-employed. because increasingly, you know, if you're a consultant, you are somebody who is has opened up your own shop, a little mom-and-pop store somewhere, you are the people who have the toughest time getting insurance. because you just don't have enough employees and for the insurance companies to take you seriously. that's why what we want to do is create an exchange. it's like a marketplace where you can go and choose from a menu of different options. different kinds of plans that you think might be right for you. and one of the options that is
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being debated is should there be a public auction. op.[applause] >> i did what was planus briefly because this is where the whole myth of a government takeover of health care comes from, and not even every democrat agrees on the public option but i want at least people to be informed about what the debate is about. the id is if you go to the market place and you are choosing from a bunch of different options, should one of the options be a government run plan that still charges you premiums, you still have to pay for it just like private insurance, but government would not -- this government option would not have the same profit motive. it would obviously be like a non-for-profit. it would have potentially lower overhead. so it might be able to give you a better deal. should you be able to choose from that option among many others. that's what the debate is about. [applause]
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>> what the opponents of a public option will argue is you can't have a level playing field if government gets in the business of providing health insurance, they will drive private insurers out of the health insurance market. that's the argument that is made. and that is a legitimate, it's a fair concern. especially if the public option was being subsidized by taxpayers. right? if they could just keep losing money and still stay in business, after a wild, they would run everybody else out. and that's why any discussion of a public option has said that it's got to pay for itself, it is not subsidized by private insurers. the only point i want to make about this is whether you are for or against a public option, just understand that the public option is not a government takeover of the health insurance. everybody here who still has current private insurance, you
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know, you would more than likely still be on your private insurance plan your employers wouldn't stop suddenly providing health insurance. so that is where this idea of government run health care came from. it is not an accurate portrayal of the debate that is going on in you can right now. all right? it is a gentleman's turn. this gentleman right there. right there. yes, sir. desser. >> think you. given your comments regarding the public option, i would like, if you could, to comment on the following, and also welcome and thank you. i believe in reform as well. i have learned that medicare pays about 94% of hospital costs. and i have learned that medicaid pays 84% of hospital cost. and i have learned this from a reputable source, my brother, who is chief administrative officer at a large hospital group. he also explains to me when i communicate with them that
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private insurers, his hospital, collects about 135% of costs from private insurers, and that makes up the difference. so if public option is out there, will it pay for its way, or will it be underfunded like medicare and medicaid? they could. >> it's a great question and i'll try to be sustained on this. this is a complicated area. anybody who has ever gotten a bill from a hospital knows it's a competition area. but here's the short answer. i believe that medicare should -- medicare and medicaid should not be updating savings just by squeezing providers. now, in some cases, we should change the delivery system so that providers have a better incentive to provide smarter care. right? so they are treating the illness instead of just how many tests are done or how many mris are done or what have you. lets pay for are you curing the
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patient. but that is different from simply saying, you know what, we need to save some money so let's cut payments to doctors by 10% and see how@@@ @ @ @ @ b family, paying for uncompensated care. people without health insurance, going in, getting fixed up, that money comes from somewhere. it comes from you. you just don't see it on your bill. and so if we can help provide
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coverage to people so that they are getting regular primary care and they are not going to the emergency room, we will obtain some savings. and that is partly going to randy's earlier question, that is partly how we will end up paying for getting people health insurance. because we are already paying for it right now, we just don't notice it. we are paying for it in uncompensated care that is subsidized by the rest of us who have health insurance. all right. i think this is the signal that i only have a few more questions. i'm going to take two more questions. if i'm in montana i got a call on somebody with a cowboy hat. [laughter] >> you've got a little plaque on there. >> montana ambassadors. we're a business advisory group appointed by the governor. we have served three republican in two democratic governors and i would like to welcome you on behalf of the montana ambassadors. >> thank you so much.
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>> you make a great ambassador. >> thank you. >> my question i'm glad you called me it has to do with the cobra question, because i am in the building materials business. i owned a lumber yard and a beautiful little town of a thousand people about 40 miles southwest of here. and i was, when the economy took a nosedive i was forced to take my workforce from 11 people to six. and i am like most import in america, i want to provide things in my responsibility on like to take care of our peeps so to speak. >> is that a montana phrase? peeps? [applause] [laughter] . .
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[applause] >> so for all of you, we're sitting on your what did you call it? nothing. as i said small businesses is probably as vulnerable as anybody. and one of the things that max has been working very hard on. this just doesn't get
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advertised. i just want it make sure everybody is paying attention here. one of the things that we're trying to do is give a substantial subsidy to help small businesses allow their employees to get health insurance. there's a lot of employers just like you who want to do the right thing, but they are the small shop, they are operating on small margin, and they have no leverage with the insurance company. we want the small business to be able to buy into the exchange. that allows you to buy the purchasing power of everybody in the exchain to get the best rates. that right away would drive down the premiums that you have to pay. and the second thing we want to do is for employers who are doing the right thing and providing health insurance that is real, then we want to give you a tax break so that it's easier for you to make your bottom line.
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now this is something that a lot of small businesses will benefit from. nobody is talking about it. since small businesses are the place where you're seeing the fastest job growth it makes sense for us to provide this kind of protection. this i guarantee it will end up in an important component of whatever we pass out of washington. all right? [applause] >> i've only got time for one more question. it's a guy's turn. i want somebody who's got a concern or skeptical about health care reform. here we go, there we go. i knew we could find a couple here. so i'll call on this gentleman right here in the pale blue shirt. hopefully that list is not too long. all right. go ahead and introduce yourself. >> i'm mark montgomery.
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i appreciate you coming here. it's great to be able to do this. >> thank you. >> mr. president, i make a living selling individual health insurance. [laughter] >> that's okay. obviously i pay very close attention to this insurance debate. as you know the health insurance companies are in favor of health care reform and have a number of very good proposals for congress to work with government to provide insurance for the uninsured and cover individuals with preexisting conditions. why is it that you've changed your strategy from talking about health care reform to health insurance reform and decided to bill if i the insurance company? >> okay. that's a fair question. first of all, you are absolutely right that the insurance companies in some cases have been constructive. i'll give you a particular example.
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etna has been drying to work with us in dealing with the preexisting condition stuff. that's absolutely true. there are other companies who have done the same. i want to just be honest with you. in some cases what we've seen is also funding in opposition by some other insurance companies so any kind of reform proposals. my intent is not to billfy insurance companies. if i was, we would be saying that private insurance has no place in the market. i don't believe that. let's work with the existing system. we have private insurers. we have to make sure that certain practices that are very tough on people, those practices change. now at one point i want to make about insurance, some of the reforms that we want for the
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insurance market are very hard to achieve unless we've got everybody covered. this is the reason the insurance companies are willing to support reform, because their attitude is if we can't exclude people were preexisting conditions, for example, if we can't cherry pick the healthy folks from the not-so-healthy folks, well that means that we're taking on more people with more expensive care. what's in it for us? the answer is they have more customers. and they are willing to make sure they are eliminating some of these practices. so it's important when people ask me, why don't you do the insurance reform stuff and not expand coverage for more people, my answer is i can't do the insurance reform stuff by itself. the only way that we can change
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some of the insurance practices that are hurting people now is to make sure that everybody's covered and everybody's got a stake in it. then the insurance company are able and willing to make some of the changes. but thank you for the question. i appreciate it. [applause] >> all right. even though i shouldn't do this, i'm going to take one more question. and i'm going to call on this person right here to get the last word. all right. >> thank you. >> go ahead. >> thank you, mr. president. and thank you for coming to belgrade and bringing your family to the last best place in the world. because you're a constitutional scholar, i think it would be
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terrible to let you escape from montana without sharing with you the most per spect preamble to the state constitution. >> i'd like to hear this. this is a good way to end. >> we the people of montana grateful to god for the quite beauty, the mountains, rolling plains, trying to improve the quality of life, the quality of opportunity, to share the best things of liberty for this and future generations and establish this constitution. i hope you take a look at the whole constitution. you'll like it. >> that's very nice. thank you. montana you've been terrific. i hope this has been informative. thank you for the questions. let's get to work. thank you. [applause]
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[cheers and applause] >> now a look at health care ads. the first is for health care. and the second is from the family research council, a group that opposes abortion.
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>> we're a second-generation family. our employees are like family. i can't get coverage for my own preexisting condition. >> small businesses like ours will help us get out of the recession. but to stay competitive we need help. there is a bill to lower health care cost to help families and business. we need that now. >> they won't pay for my surgery. what will we do? >> you can't live this way. >> planned parenthood is in the government-run health care plan and spending tax dollars on abortions. they won't pay for my surgery, but won't pay for abortions. >> call your senator. stop the government take over for health care. >> as the health care conversation continues, c-span's
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health care hub is a key resource. go online and follow the latest tweets, video ads and links. keep up-to-date with health care events like town hall meetings, house and senate debates. the c-span health care hub at care. >>s in, your calls and comments on "washington journal." scheduled speakers, tom price, mike pen, michelle shad oc and others. >> sunday, the contributing editor and columnist for news
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week magazine on the public radio series against the odds, which profiles people who have overcome difficult obstacles in life. >> british voters are expected to go to poles in national elections next spring. this weekend, the conservative leader on how government can change policies. sunday night, c-span. >> how is c-span funded? >> the u.s. government. >> some of it is government raised. >> not public. >> probably the agency. >> i want to say for me, my tax dollars. >> how is c-span funded? america's cable companies created c-span. a private initiative, no government mandate. no government money. >> some morning, we'll talk with the founder of the blog, suburban


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